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CanLit Collection: 12 New Homegrown Novels

From an imagined earthquake in Vancouver to a family saga set in Newfoundland, the best new Canadian books are bound to captivate. / BY Nathalie Atkinson / July 6th, 2022


Long summer days are the perfect opportunity to catch up on compelling recent work by Canadian authors that you may have missed. Here are a dozen suggestions of worthy books to check out.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1Finding Edwardby Sheila Murray

Literary critic Donna Bailey Nurse calls this debut novel by a social justice advocate who lives in Hamilton, Ont., “one of the most penetrating dramas of Black experience in all of Canadian literature.” It’s a stunning read, using split timelines that switch between Cyril Rowntree, a Jamaican immigrant studying at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and Edward, a mixed-race child in the early 1920s whose story he is researching.


2The River Twiceby John Bemrose

Bemrose, a Giller-nominated Canadian arts journalist, returns to the small southwestern Ontario mill town setting of his acclaimed 2003 debut, The Island Walkers. This time, he rewinds to explore the lives of local residents during the Great War and its aftermath, with a cast of characters profoundly changed from serving in the war and events at home.


3Groupiesby Sarah Priscus

This Ottawa writer’s immersive debut is the love child of Almost Famous and Daisy Jones & the Six. It follows college dropout Faun Novak on a Greyhound to Los Angeles in the summer of 1977, as she joins a group of women who follow the folk-rock band Holiday Sun. Faun obsessively snaps Polaroids to chronicle the seedy glamour of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll – and, like this novel, captures the dark corners and dangers of fame.


4Death at the Savoyby Prudence Emery and Ron Base

Emery, the B.C.-born, longtime film publicist (now in her mid-80s), co-writes this cozy mystery with Base, a retired showbiz journalist, inspired by Emery’s years working in the press office of London’s illustrious Savoy Hotel. The intrigue, set against the backdrop of celebrity-studded London in 1968, involves an inquisitive young Canadian PR gal (ahem) investigating the mysterious death of a hotel guest. This, while she navigates a shadowy protective detail that shields the Royal Family from scandal and, in between copious glasses of Buck’s Fizz, handles the comings and goings of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Noël Coward, who appear in sustained cameos. Imagine Agatha Christie’s At Bertram’s Hotel, if Jane Marple was a Swinging ’60s London lass in Mary Quant miniskirts.


5Best Young Woman Job Bookby Emma Healey

In her sardonic memoir, the poet and essayist (daughter of notable Canadian actors/playwrights ) tackles the ups and downs of the gig economy. As she tries to make a living as a writer while preserving her soul, the various and extremely disparate jobs are fodder for her insightful and often-funny observations about artistic compromise and identity – questions that will resonate whether you’re a Millennial or a baby boomer.


6The Lost Chapterby Caroline Bishop

English widow Florence, an artist, confronts long-buried secrets she shared with her old friend Lilli in the 1950s at a French finishing school. The British-Canadian author, who lives in Switzerland, has crafted a story about friendship, forgiveness and women who fight for their own path in life, especially with her eccentric and dynamic 80-year-old main character, who has lived a full and impactful life.


7Wanby Dawn Promislow

The Toronto-based author sets this suspenseful story in the 1970s in her native South Africa, where an elderly woman named Jacqueline recounts events from her previous life as a privileged white artist and homemaker living in suburban Johannesburg. Jacqueline divulges how she and her husband briefly harboured an anti-apartheid dissident in this deliberately paced novel, which grapples with the politics and fallout of resistance, guilt and silence.


8Mad Honeyby Katie Welch

The hives on the roof of the author’s high school in in Ottawa were the original inspiration for this novel that’s been called a “Canadian farmhouse gothic.” Melissa is trying to keep the family farm going when her boyfriend Beck returns after a brief but strange disappearance, and with only fuzzy memories of having lived in a bee colony. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The nature of Beck’s lost time is the central mystery in this unusual novel about truth, perseverance, co-operative societies and environmental themes, vividly told by Welch, who’s now based in Kamloops, B.C.


9The Broken Placesby Frances Peck

Peck, a North Vancouver-based editor and ghostwriter-turned-writer, chose the premise of a major earthquake rocking the city as the backdrop for her debut novel, in order to explore both the scientific what ifs (in consultation with a seismic researcher) and the effect it would have on residents in a city with such income disparity.

The chaos of catastrophe throws unlikely people together in a West Vancouver waterfront mansion, and touches a gay couple, a tech tycoon’s family and a Ukrainian caregiver who fled the 2014 Russian invasion of the Crimean Peninsula.


10At Last Countby Claire Ross Dunn

Dunn, an award-winning Toronto television writer for Degrassi and Little Mosque on the Prairie, has family ties to the community she writes about in this funny and wise novel that has been likened to the work of Anne Tyler. Avid birder Paisley, whose Toronto apartment building is about to be demolished, returns home to the tight-knight community of Amherst Island (on Lake Ontario between Kingston and Prince Edward County). The stress of the situation exacerbates her obsessive-compulsive disorder (counting in sets of eight features prominently), a thread the novel explores with empathy as it toggles between recent past and Paisley’s early-1980s teen years.


11The Full Catastropheby Méira Cook

Charlie, a 13-year-old boy born with intersex traits, is living in downtown Winnipeg with his bohemian artist mother Jules and their chosen-family community when his beloved grandfather Oscar (a retired bespoke tailor) decides to throw him a bar mitzvah. Thanks to their interactions, both hilarity and heartwarming tenderness are sure to ensue in the latest novel by the Winnipeg poet and author, whose previous works have won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.


12The Wardsby Terry Doyle

It has to be Malcolm McDowell and Son of a Critchs influence that this humble saga of a dysfunctional working-class Newfoundland clan now tops my TBR pile. Sudden illness disrupts the family’s precarious balance, and I’m looking forward to how Doyle, a writer from the Goulds, N.L., unpacks the intricacies of masculinity in the family, and the community.


THE SCROLL

Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


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